A wake-up call.

You know the feeling, you do your friend a favour by agreeing to be their guinea pig only to discover you’ve got a big problem.

That’s what happened to me recently. I agreed to help out a fellow coach with some research she was conducting and took the Holmes-Rahe Stress Test. For those not familiar with the Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale, it is a list of 43 stressful life events that can contribute to illness.

Put simply, my score put me at imminent risk of developing an illness. It was a wakeup call. Life is like that isn’t it, you know you have a lot on your plate and that it’s not just the amount of work but also that emotionally you are going through the wringer. Life! It happens and there is no use complaining about it -so you press on regardless. The problem is when left untreated, stress has a way of making itself heard. And that way is called illness.

Fortunately, because my friend is a Coach, she was able to use her competencies to challenge me on what I could do to mitigate the effects of my current circumstances. We worked together, devised a new framework and structure, we also created some action steps that could help me avoid a trip to the doctor’s office or worse.

What about you? Sometimes stressful times are unavoidable. What and who could help you navigate a difficult season?

Here are my top ten tips to help reduce stress:

  • Change for better work/life balance can be done anytime
  • Recognising your stress is the first step to recovery.
  • Dealing with one thing at a time is easier.
  • Asking for support is nothing to be ashamed of –involve your colleagues or a family member.
  • Change your thinking and take a fresh look at the situation.
  • Keep fit –get your exercise regularly and make sure you’re eating healthily.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine and quit smoking.
  • Learn how to relax.
  • Dedicate at least four hours each week to your hobbies (other than work)
  • Make sure you get sufficient sleep each night.